From Bore-day to Bordi: Walking on a Tranquil Paradise!
"Bordi (bore-day), what the heck is that...must be some boring place as the name itself indicates," I commented upon hearing my wife's suggestion about the weekend getaway from Mumbai on my birthday, luckily coinciding on a Friday. "It's just two and a half hour's away, and I have heard that it is one hell of a peaceful beach-side place" - a paradise of serenity & quietness.
The "Birthday Boy" in me was quiet excited that joyous Friday, as I reached office well before time, with only one intention on my mind - to wrap up as quickly as possible and hitting the road to Bordi. Closing up on all the unfinished assignments, I made my way back home well before noon to undertake the birthday ride of the year.
Valentine, my Valentine
Just as I was approaching the last turning towards home, my cell phone rang and lo, the name flashing in the Caller ID was of my boss. I picked up and was taken a little aback by the question he was asking - "What is the spelling of Valentine?" Well, well I spelled out "V-A-L-E-N-T-I-N-E," pondering why the hell he was asking this question.
"The spelling is appearing wrongly on our website, by the way where you are?" he added. "Well boss, I told you yesterday, it is my birthday today and I wrapped early as I am moving out of town. No deliveries due on my part today."
"Ok, ok, now who do I follow up to get the correction done, who should I sent the mail to?" his bombardment of questions followed. I replied in utter disgust, "Pallavi is the person, please ask her to do the change, she'll get it done." He just uttered a distasteful "all right" and the line snapped. I wondered, wow what a way to be greeted on your "birthday," he did not even wished me on my all important day. Consoled myself by thinking that it is "my professional boss in his professional colours...nothing personal" and there is no point seeking unnecessary expectation. Life moves on with or without his wishes...
My wife, Mitali, opening the door, and seeing my long face asked, "What's wrong?" I just replied, "I am fine, let's get out of town my dear VALENTINE" to her utter dismay. Picking up the rucksack, we trudged through the traffic on the Western Express Highway as we made our way towards the Borivali Railway station.
Rampage on the Rails
Boarding the empty reserved compartment, we thought we had the entire bogey all to ourselves, as the train chugged ahead. Little did we anticipate that in the next stations, hoards of people would aboard on a rampage into the reserved bogey, of course, without proper reservation - as if it was a "free for all" seat arrangement. The privacy that we had experienced since the past half-an-hour came to a grinding halt, but the train chugged ahead again, with young & old alike surrounding/standing all over us.
As we moved on, the landscape outside the window kept changing. Habitation started getting sparse, and range after range of the green Aravalli mountains drape the backdrop of a scintillating blue sky. The view was simply awesome. Crossing a few stations, we reached Dahanu, where we boarded down. We trotted outside the station and realized that there were no cabs here; three-wheeler auto rikshaws are the order of the day.
Stillness Calms our Heart
The distance from Dahanu to Bordi is 17 kms and as our auto rikshaw traversed the beach front road ahead, the sight was simply mesmerizing. The road from Dahanu to Bordi moves along side the sea, and as each waves splashed across the bay, it was as if our spirits soared higher. With line upon lines of pine groves alongside the beach, to give us company, it seemed a unique blend of lush green vegetation and the deep blue sea.
Ahead on the road, we passed by many a small fishing village and we realized we were deep inside "chickoo country". There were hardly any vehicles plying on the road and the "stillness and quietness" was felt immediately, as we passed countless chickoo orchards, with sweet ripe chickoos hanging in the branches just waiting, as if to be plucked by any hungry passerby.
Entering Bordi, we headed straight to the MTDC Tent resort. We had not done any prior reservation and were just hopeful that we would get accommodation - as usual coming as unplanned as ever. Initially, when I heard about tent accommodation, I had visualized tents as in the ones that we had earlier stayed in jungle safari camps.
Live Life, Tent Type
As the manager of the resort scampered through that huge guest register, I could not miss the anticipation in Mitali's face, "if or not" we'll get accommodation here. Raising his head, he asked, "What type of accommodation you would prefer." "Undoubtedly tent type," but would "like to have look first."
As the waiter-cum-receptionist took us inside the resort, passing through the portico, we were simply bowled out to see five to six well-furnished, cute wooden floored AC tents, in the backdrop of the quiet sea behind. Soon, we gave our nod to the best sea-view cottage - the waves were just a few meters away and we moved in. Elegantly-paneled with French windows, the view outside was invigorating.
Refreshing ourselves with a fresh cup of hot masala tea, we simply did not wanted to stay indoor anymore. It was already late into the afternoon and with the clear sky above, we anticipated a nice beach sunset ahead. We hit straight into the sea and after some initial merrymaking amidst the waves, trotted back to the beach and just sat still.
Sun, Shine & Stars for Company
As each waves came crashing into the beach we were spellbound at the quietness and stillness of this amazing place. It was a deserted beach all along, with shrieks of a few local kids playing a ball game, breaking the silence once in a while.
As the sun gradually started diving down the sky, as if to be engulfed by the deep wide sea, the golden-silvery hue that it created reflecting in the water, indeed made us just capture each passing moments in our minds as well as on our camera.
With the cool breeze brushing across us, dusk started setting in soon. We just kept sitting out there quietly gazing at the sea, till we saw the sky getting gradually filling up with countless silvery-white dots stretching till the horizon - a starlit night undoubtedly! Away from the smog of the city, in this serene and calm atmosphere, we could not stop star gazing till late into the night. In fact, we witnessed such a star-studded night sky after a long time for sure.
Refreshing ourselves with a shower in our tented accommodation, we geared ourselves for the night ahead. Chilling out late into the night with quite a few rounds of chilled beer accompanied by some spicy Malvani chicken my birthday with my VALENTINE, turned out special this year.
Setting Shop on the Road
After a late breakfast next morning, we moved out of the resort. Trotting a few hundreds of meters into the main road towards the town center, we realized it was the market day - weekly hutt - with all sorts of makeshift stalls, displaying items ranging from fancy linen to dry ginger, from tiger prawns to bangles. All the fishing villages within the periphery of Bordi set shop every Saturday on both side of the main road and do brisk business.
Loitering for some time viewing at the amazing variety of items on display, we hired an auto rikshaw and ventured away into the country side. The quiet meandering road, passing through huge chickoo plantation farms was indeed a charming experience. We stopped a few occasion and started plucking chickoo right from the hanging branches adjacent to the road.
Peek Inside an Adavasi Home
Going a few odd miles ahead, we came to a railway crossing and our auto driver cum guide informed us that we are entering Adivasi (local tribal people) area. The level crossing gate was down as we waited anxiously for the train to pass by. We passed many simple Adivasi villages with cheerful children waving at us all the way, till we reached the scenic Asuwali Dam.
The dam was idyllically located with lush green mountains ranges covering it from all sides. The gushing stream of water flowing down from the dam in a serpentine manner into the valley below provided a scintillating view. The still water of the tranquil lake on the other hand was simply heavenly. We just sat there for a couple of hours at peace with Mother Nature.
Coming down the hill, we ventured into an Adivasi house and were amazed at the simplicity of life here. Unlike us, their needs are small and expectations smaller still. They mainly work in the numerous chickoo orchards for their livelihood.
On inquiry about local handicrafts & arts, they proudly took us into their home and showed us some sort of wall art they create during marriages and other festive occasions. It is locally called Chawak. It has intricate motifs of trees, leaves and animal forms. Surely, it clearly signifies and quantifies how much role Mother Nature has in their lives.
The medium they use to make Chawak is simple rice powder. "Wow," was all we could say and immediately captured it into the camera. Coming back we took a different route and made our way to Hotel Hill Zill for sumptuous lunch with lip smacking deep fried macarel fish and mutton dry fry.
Rock on the Docks
The next morning we ventured out beyond Bordi towards docks of Umbergaon. We crossed the Maharastra-Gujarat border point, with countless Parsi bunglows dotting the landscape on both the side of the road. However, most of these age-old elegant bunglows with huge entry gates seemed abandoned.
Going further we came across the famous Fire Temple of Umbergoan. Entry to non-Parsi is restricted here. We had to be satisfied by capturing the temple architecture - with symbolic horse-like structure guarding the temple - in our camera and moved on.
Umbergaon is a port township, and it is said that majority of the Persian entered into the Indian mainland through this port centuries ago. The Parsi influence is very much evident in this area be it food habits or building architecture.
Passing by a magnificent light house, we visualized how many countless ships from far flung countries, it might have had directed ashore down the ages when Umbergaon was a full-fledge dock.
The port was hustling-bustling with activities of the fisher folks. Loads of the fresh morning catch were being downloaded and packed into boxes to be dispatched to Mumbai and other places. We were amazed to see 6 to 7 feet long slender snake type fishes - locally called Kut fish. We could not stop ourselves to take a sail boat ride as it glided through the calm sea smoothly.
Caught in the Studio of Time
After spending about an hour we took the road back to Bordi. On the way back we stopped at the famous Vindavan Studio wherein shooting of all mythological TV serials including Ramanand Sagar's Ramayan, Mahabharat etc were shot. The sets on display were splendid, as well as the actors in their costume best. We were lucky to witness a shooting scene of the TV serial Ravana being aired currently on Start Plus.
After that mythological trip, we came back and reached Bordi for a sumptuous lunch at the resort. Post lunch, we made our way back to Dahanu and spent some quiet moments at Daharu beach till it was time for us to reluctantly say "adieu" to this tranquil paradise.
As the train chugged back to Mumbai, we contemplated the evening bumper-to-bumper traffic of the chaotic city ahead, totally in contrast to the calm and serenity that we had experience in this quiet place called Bordi.
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Published on 10/29/07